Media release: Vic (Alter) – Train driver convicted of Bankruptcy Act offences

Mr Werner Martin Willem Alter was sentenced on 3 August 2017 after pleading guilty to 31 counts of incurring a debt without any reasonable or probable grounds of being able to repay that debt.

With debts worth over $13 million, Mr Alter filed for voluntary bankruptcy on 6 May 2015. In the month prior to filing for bankruptcy, he made purchases and cash advances from nine credit cards totalling more than $222,000. Shortly before incurring these debts, he was served with a Judgment to pay damages of $380,000. It was alleged that after taking his assets and salary as a train driver into account, there was no reasonable expectation that he could repay those debts.

Mr Alter, aged 52, was discharged from his bankruptcy on 17 May 2017.

Magistrate Martin at Ringwood Magistrates Court sentenced Mr Alter to a Community Corrections Order for 18 months with a condition that he perform 300 hours of unpaid community work over 12 months. In sentencing, his Honour noted that a substantial discount had been applied due to his early guilty plea however, the offence was serious and a very large sum of money was involved.

The matter was prosecuted by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.